Driving Toyota s Insane 600-horsepower TMG EV P002 Electric Pikes Peak Racer video
Over 12 miles the highway up Pikes Peak winds by 156 turns, climbing nearly 5,000 feet to terminate at an altitude of 14,one hundred ten -- 4,000 ft increased than the FAA requires to flip in your personal digital devices in a commercial aircraft. On a normal day, folks with RVs and SUVs lumber their struggling machines up to the top, engines gasping for air, after which gently thread their way again all the way down to the underside, brakes smoking and suffering. However, on one particular day a year, a circus of hooligans with excessive-powered cars, bikes and varied different motorized contraptions claim the mountain go as their very own. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has run since 1916 in some kind or one other, however recently the tone of the competitors has been changing. Fairly literally. Electric-powered automobiles at the moment are whizzing up the mountain in droves and, more and more, they're difficult their fuel-powered rivals. Certainly, the quickest motorbike up the course this year was electric, and the automobiles are getting quicker. How briskly? How about extra power than a Ferrari 458 and practically thrice the torque in a bundle that weighs 1,000 pounds much less? That is what Toyota's TMG EV P002 places down in Pikes Peak trim, 600 horsepower and 900 ft-lbs of torque. It is a ridiculously overpowered little machine, and Toyota was variety sufficient to let me drive it. The test drive would take place at Pikes Peak Worldwide Raceway, a 1-mile oval monitor that's had a road course lower via the center. Situated simply south of Colorado Springs, it is right here that lots of the highest groups tackling the mountain set up shop for the week leading up to the race. As we drove as much as Toyota's pit stall, the day after the race, the previous couple of teams were packing up to go. Triumphant Peugeot, whose document-breaking car was the fastest of the day by the hands of World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, was loading up its last transporter. Meanwhile, at the alternative end of each the parking lot and serverfault.com the spectrum of success, lay what remained of the PP01 EV from the Latvian eO group. Throughout its run, the car spun off the observe, slamming into a boulder and flipping over, injuring (however thankfully not seriously) driver Janis Horeliks. After which in a single garage, trying impossibly small and quite tidier than eO's entry, sat Toyota's EV P002. Each its entrance nose and tail had been removed to facilitate cleansing out all the filth that had accumulated from the previous day's run. Despite its small dimension, it was encumbered with considerable aerodynamic appendages front and rear, grafted on after this very automobile broke the EV Nurburgring track record final year. While many joke that massive wings on a avenue car sign their drivers are compensating for one thing, the big wings here are additionally compensating: for diminished air pressure. Because of the skinny air towards the highest of the mountain, and as a result of ridiculously twisty nature of the course, Pikes Peak cars are inclined to have large wings on both front and back. That pressure additionally wreaks havoc on the output of conventional internal combustion engines, which suck in a mixture of gas and air, squeeze the resulting mixture after which mild it on hearth (bang) to make energy before blowing the resulting pollution out the exhaust. Much less air means less oxygen, which suggests less energy -- as much as 40 percent less at the highest. Turbos and superchargers can help, however the one real answer is a powertrain of a wholly totally different kind. Electric automobiles generate the same quantity of energy from the underside of the course to the highest, and within the case of this Toyota, that's quite a lot of power. Electric autos generate the identical amount of energy from the underside of the course to the top, and within the case of this Toyota, that's loads of energy. Again we're looking at roughly 600 horsepower and 900 foot-pounds of torque and, since it is an EV, it's all accessible principally wherever in the powerband. There's also no shifting, the high-RPM motor spins quick sufficient to take the automobile from zero all the way as much as the 140MPH that the P002's present gearing allows. The EV P002, at its core, is a Radical SR8, a small, $160,000 open-cockpit and typically gasoline-powered racecar that is surprisingly road legal. That chassis has been heavily modified for electric duties, one electric motor for each of the rear wheels and, after all, a battery. Since that file-breaking Nurburgring run, Toyota engineers moved the driver's seat to a central position and made dozens of different modifications to get it prepared for the hill, all on brief discover. The most important piece of the puzzle, however, is the one who will sit in that seat. And for that, Toyota turned to a man with whom they've plenty of experience at the Peak: Rod Millen. He piloted the ridiculously highly effective Toyota Celica and Tacoma racers within the '90s and held the report to the highest of the mountain for an unimaginable thirteen years. Because of this many call him the King of the Mountain. Although I most definitely lack the talent and expertise of Mr. Millen, Toyota still noticed match to let me take a number of laps with the automobile earlier than it was packed up and shipped off to a hillclimb of a very different kind and pace: the largely ceremonial Goodwood Festival of Pace. Beneath the watchful eye of Steve Wickham, vice president of chassis operations at Toyota Racing Improvement USA and a man with loads of experience in Toyota's numerous motorsports pursuits, I clambered over and by the cockpit jungle gym and cinched the six-level harness tight. I too can be driving a bit slower than I'd like, however for other causes. Wickham and various different Toyota personnel reminded me at each alternative that this is the only such automotive that exists, which did weigh on my mind to a point. Additionally, the top speed had been limited to an unfortunate 100MPH. That left me limping down the front straight, but provided greater than sufficient pace to get a really feel for issues in the infield. A twitch of the ankle is enough to open your eyes extensive, due to G-forces alone. My first impression was surprise on the stiffness of the automobile and the lack of physique roll, one thing necessitated by the trendy Pikes Peak course being totally paved and smooth. I was also surprised by the torque. I should not have been, what with the 900-foot-pound figure being bandied round, but hearing a quantity that ridiculous and having that much power connected to your right foot are two very different things. A twitch of the ankle is sufficient to open your eyes huge, thanks to G-forces alone, with only the whine of the transmission and the growing wind noise supplying you with some concept of your present velocity. Braking was moderately less spectacular in my limited drive, largely due to the nature of full carbon brakes. Brake pads and rotors made of compressed carbon offer wonderful efficiency when scorching, but after they're chilly, you are left with an extremely agency, however quite ineffective left pedal. That is precisely what I had for my sadly temporary time behind the steering wheel. It was, for the document, a reasonably warm day in Colorado (about 80 levels F), however the operating temperature of carbon brakes is up nearer to 1,000 levels F, and preserving them there requires excessive speeds and a heavy left foot. Talking of the wheel, its heart is 3D-printed and lined with knobs to regulate varied engine and traction parameters, knobs I used to be told not to fiddle with. However, I used to be suggested to press the yellow button on the lower-proper section when pulling into the pits. That's a noisemaker, triggering an obnoxious siren loud enough to satisfy the Pikes Peak rules for EVs, requiring some type of noise to alert the spectators. Toyota's makes a very annoying sound, however Wickham told me it was the lightest siren they might find. Cornering G-forces are actually less punishing than I'd anticipated as nicely. The automotive was nonetheless on its nicely-worn rain tires that had run up the mountain the day earlier than, which was one strike towards it. Additionally, it was still arrange with a really predictable, however somewhat irritating understeer-heavy suspension configuration. This makes the automobile secure on the climb, with little probability of it spinning round and backing right into a boulder, however on this little highway oval, it pushed by way of every nook, bits of rubber getting ripped off the entrance tires and arcing via the air. And then, after just a few moments of excessive-torque fun, my laps were over and that i had to return to the pits, siren wailing, so that the Toyota engineers could strip the car and pack it into its shipping crate for the lengthy journey throughout the Atlantic to Goodwood. After that, it is unclear what the longer term holds for the P002. Another run on the Nurburgring record looks as if a lock, however whether or not it comes again to problem the mountain again in 2014 stays to be seen. The title of quickest EV doesn't come cheap nowadays, with multiple manufacturers putting together full-manufacturing facility efforts, but this looks like an enormous alternative for an organization to determine itself because the chief in this nascent motorsport. Toyota established the Prius brand as the de facto alternative for those looking for a hybrid they could reside with simply by being the primary to supply a sensible possibility. Sadly, the company has already been overwhelmed by Nissan, Mitsubishi, Tesla and more on the EV front, so if it wants to establish itself as a market leader, it'll must do one thing totally different. Defining itself as the force in electric motorsports would definitely be an interesting approach to do it. Looking again at Toyota's utter dominance on the mountain via the '90s, achieving the same now with an EV appears eminently potential. Celica picture credit: MillenWorks. All products beneficial by Engadget are selected by our editorial crew, unbiased of our dad or mum firm. A few of our tales include affiliate links. If you buy one thing via one of these hyperlinks, we might earn an affiliate fee.